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- 🏁Mastering the Final Mile for Unforgettable Customer Experiences
🏁Mastering the Final Mile for Unforgettable Customer Experiences
The Art of Closing, Overcoming Managerial Challenges, and Unexpected Power of 'Lagniappe'
We're back this week to shine a light on a crucial aspect of the sales process that often slips through the cracks: the 'Final Mile'’ In this edition, we offer tangible ways to ensure that your sales team nails these last details, creating satisfied and returning customers. Let's dive in!
🔑 Open Communication: Always keep customers in the loop, especially when plans change.
✔️ Accuracy Counts: Double-check all details to avoid confusion and ensure a happy customer.
🤝 Teamwork Wins: Coordinate with all teams involved to deliver a seamless experience for the customer.
My “Final Mile” Journey
I'm not usually the one in the buyer's seat, but recently, I had an experience that put a lot into perspective for me. I was purchasing a used car for my daughter, whose vehicle had been totaled in a hailstorm. The sales process began well enough—nothing exceptional, but nothing alarming either. Everything was going smoothly until we got to the final mile.
That's when things started to unravel.
The seller provided us with the wrong information about when the car would be titled, and consequently, we failed to get our insurance coverage to start on the correct date. This led to a four-hour inconvenience of untangling the issue—time and energy that I, as the customer, shouldn't have had to spend. And to top it off, the car wasn't ready when we arrived to pick it up, despite having a set time.
These are all details that could have been easily prevented. And as a sales professional myself, it struck me how crucial these final stages are for customer satisfaction. The best sales pitch can be undermined if the 'final mile' isn't handled with the same level of precision and attention to detail. It's not just about closing the sale—it's about delivering an experience that the customer finds effortless and satisfying from start to finish.
Don’t get me wrong. I’ve blown it in the final mile. Not having paperwork checked for errors resulted in a needless error in a crucial contract. Today it’s easy to spell check, use Grammarly, and It was the type of thing that stung so badly that I now go the extra mile to make sure it never happens again.
I hope this story resonates with you and reminds you to always focus on those last details that can make or break a customer's experience. After all, we're not just selling a product or a service—we're selling an experience, and those final touches often leave the most lasting impressions.
Do you have a final mile story to share? What are some ways you’ve made the final mile an easy and enjoyable process? Comment in our web copy and share!
How to make it actionable:
🚏 Signpost the Process: Clearly outline the sales process steps to the customer from the outset. This includes what to expect and when. Regularly reaffirm these steps and provide updates as you move from one stage to the next. This ensures that the customer is always aware of where they stand in the process, enhancing transparency and trust.
🧐 Check Your Work: Make it a standard practice to double-check all information and communication before it goes to the customer. This could involve team members reviewing each other's work or utilizing software to help automate this process. Accuracy is crucial in maintaining customer trust and ensuring a seamless sales process.
Here are some creative ideas I’ve seen salespeople do in the final mile of the sale:
Make the signing an event! Create a celebratory occasion to mark the beginning of a new relationship, new potential, or a much-needed change.
Personalized thank you’s: In this era of sending emails, sending a handwritten note thanking the customer for their business can add a personal touch and make customers feel valued. I keep a stash of nice Crane’s stationery to send on special occasions.
Follow-up Video Messages: Send personalized video messages to your clients post-purchase, thanking them for their business and summarizing what they should expect next. This not only stands out from standard email communication but also allows you to build a more personal connection.
'Behind the Scenes' Updates: Share real-time, 'behind-the-scenes’ updates with the customers. For instance, a snapshot of their order being packaged or a short clip of the delivery van leaving the warehouse. Maybe your staff thanking them. This makes customers feel part of the process.
Lagniappe: In New Orleans (where I sold for a decade following Hurricane Katrina), they have a term called "lagniappe" (pronounced lan-yap), which means a small gift given to a customer by a merchant at the time of purchase. This tradition embodies the spirit of giving more than expected. Incorporate lagniappe into your sales process by including a small surprise gift with the product, whether it's related merchandise or a discount coupon for their next purchase. A pleasant surprise can leave a lasting impression and enhance the customer's overall buying experience.
Navigating Manager Overreach
I received a question from a reader a few weeks ago that struck a chord with me, particularly in light of our recent discussions about the 'final mile' in sales. It's a scenario that, unfortunately, many of us in the sales industry can relate to.
Q: Joe, my manager, always steps in at the last moment and doesn’t let me close the sale. Worse, he feels compelled to offer a discount rather than sell on value. Overall it makes me appear less in the customer’s eyes. I’m sick about this trend and thinking of quitting.
This is a challenging situation. Here's my advice:
Firstly, know that your feelings are entirely valid. Being undermined, especially in front of a client, can be incredibly demoralizing. Sales is all about building relationships and trust, and it's hard to do that when you're not given the chance to see things through.
The second thing to note is the issue of discounting versus selling on value. In the long run, competing on price is a race to the bottom. Your manager's impulse to offer a discount instead of selling on the value you've worked so hard to establish is a short-term approach that could harm relationships and profitability in the long run.
So, what to do?
My first suggestion is to have an open and honest conversation with your manager. Express your concerns, focusing on the impact of their actions on the customer relationship and the perceived value of your product or service. Be constructive and offer alternatives. You might suggest being allowed to handle an entire sale by yourself, with your manager only stepping in at your request.
If this doesn't work, consider seeking advice from HR or a trusted mentor within the organization. Sometimes an outside perspective can help facilitate a more productive conversation.
Lastly, remember that this situation does not determine your worth as a salesperson. If you're passionate about sales and are confident in your ability to deliver value, there will be other opportunities where your skills will be better utilized and appreciated.
I hope this advice helps, and remember, never hesitate to assert your value and advocate for yourself in your professional journey.
If you have a question you'd like me to address in the next "Ask Joe" section, please submit it here: https://igniterev.beehiiv.com/c/ask. I'm here to help!